Rock Creek Middle School and the Tall Grass Smackdown

By SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Member, Charlie

A lot of the work at our sites is suddenly becoming relevant as the skies are drying up and the grass is growing much longer. This was especially evident at Rock Creek on Monday when Rock Creek Middle School came out to help improve the riparian ecosystem.

When students got to the site, they noticed that the grass growing around the plants seemed to have grown a full foot in the week since they had visited the site two weeks ago. Already many of the plants that the Rock Creek Middle School Green Team had planted this winter were dwarfed by the grass and fighting for the precious sunlight. To encourage these young native plants to thrive and grow into a nice healthy riparian ecosystem, the Rock Creek Middle School students got right to work placing coffee bags around the base of the young native plants. These coffee bags are made of jute – a biodegradable grass – and when staked around our native plants, they suppress the resource-stealing grass from growing right next to the native plants. Students also spent some time mulching the recently coffee-bagged plants. As the weather continues to get drier, having a nice layer of mulch above the roots will be really helpful in preventing these young short-rooted plants from drying up before they really get established.

After they left the site, their hard work was evident: each native plant had their own growing and breathing (and photosynthesizing?) space, like a little sanctuary island in a sea of tall menacing grass. With their help this new site is definitely on the way to developing into a nice native habitat. Rock Creek thanks you, Rock Creek Middle School Green Team!

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